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What the heck is net neutrality?

by CAROLINE GAVURA Section Editor

Everyone is talking about it- but what is it really?

Net neutrality has been talked about for months by the media, and now President Obama is urging the Federal Communications Commission to put it in place.

Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications, regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.

If that’s a little hard to follow, this website does a great job at explaining what net neutrality really is (plus cartoons, yay!).

Basically, net neutrality works to keep internet providers (like Comcast and Time Warner) from slowing down, interrupting, or blocking web pages because it affects their business.

So no, Senator Ted Cruz, it is not “Obamacare for the Internet.”

Net neutrality was created in order to keep the Internet free, open, and fair.

“I’ll be honest with you, for awhile I didn’t really know what net neutrality was. Now that I know the facts, this is something a lot of young people should be aware about! The Internet is a huge part of our everyday lives along with our future- and we need to protect it,” said senior Heather Gursky.

President Obama is trying to install the toughest regulations on these internet providers to make sure net neutrality is a reality.

“Ever since the Internet was created, it’s been organized around basic principles of openness, fairness and freedom. There are no gatekeepers deciding which sites you get to access. There are no toll roads on the information superhighway. Abandoning these principles would threaten to end the Internet as we know it,” Obama said in a video posted on the White House website.

FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, agreed with Obama’s stance, but admitted the legal issues surrounding putting the rules in place are complex, and the FCC has more work to do before net neutrality is a reality.

The broadband providers, however, had a different opinion. They feel the President is doing more harm than good by supporting net neutrality. Republicans also slammed Obama for urging more government regulation.

The rules proposed by Wheeler could allow special treatment for some companies willing to pay the internet providers for faster content delivery.

“While I do support net neutrality, I do hope the FCC doesn’t allow this special treatment. The whole point of net neutrality is so there is a sense of fairness,” said senior Christa Tomasulo.

Obama made it clear that the FCC needs to classify the internet providers.

“The FCC is an independent agency and ultimately this decision is theirs alone, but the public has already commented nearly 4 million times asking the FCC to make sure the consumers, not the cable company, gets to decide which sites they use,” said Obama.

Clearly the American people agree with the President and his stance on net neutrality. Why should they be affected because of these Internet providers and their greed?

It is astonishing that anyone besides the broadband companies would oppose such a thing.

What is your take on the net neutrality issue?

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